Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Third Trimester Chocolate Cake

One of my friends is pregnant and she was telling me today that she was craving a big piece of chocolate cake. Which in turn made me crave one! In honor of the inspiration, I'm calling this one Third Trimester Chocolate Cake ;)

And it's so easy to make! This is a true one-bowl recipe. In that bowl goes sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Whisk everything together so it's one big bowl of powdery dry goods.

Like this.

Next you'll want to pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients. Start out with buttermilk.

If you've been reading Kim Chee Casserole, you'll know I love buttermilk.

But if you don't have any, a cup of milk laced with a tablespoon of vinegar will do in a pinch. Or you could use yogurt or sour cream.

Next are a pair of eggs and a drizzle of vegetable oil.

Give it a little stir before you add the next ingredient.

Which is a strong cuppa freshly made joe.

Coffee. It's coffee.

Now give everything a good whir together with your handy dandy hand mixer (or just a regular whisk.)

See all this on the side? That's why you scrape the bowl.

Oops. Almost forgot the vanilla!

Grease the bottoms and corners of your cake pans. I've read it helps not to grease the sides, so I didn't. But be very, very sure to get deep into the corners.

Pour your batter into the pans. Try to do it evenly. The batter's going to be very, very thin (just like the batter for my Tie-Dye Cupcakes.)

Pop the pans into your preheated oven. They'll be ready to pull out in about half an hour.

When the sides of the cake start pulling away from the cake pans, that's a good sign your cake is ready to come out. You can also stick a toothpick in the center; if the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is ready to come out.

One of the great things about this batter is that it doesn't rise a lot. So you don't have to worry much about the middle puffing up and having to cut the top off to make a level surface.

After your cake has cooled a bit, you can turn it out onto a cooling rack. Run a butter knife around the edges of the cake (be sure to do a thorough job, but don't scratch the nonstick surface of your pans!) Then place your cooling rack over your cake pan and then flip everything over.


While your cake continues to cool, it would be a good time to make your frosting. I made the Vanilla Bean Frosting I used on the Tie-Dye Cupcakes.

Once your cake is cooled, you can work on assembling it. Pick the cake that will be the bottom layer. I try to pick the one that looks the sturdiest. Carefully place it on your cake stand or plate that you intend to serve the cake on.

Next, pick your filling. You could use your frosting, or you could choose something else, like fruit, jelly or jam, curd, whipped cream, ganache ... whatever you like. I used raspberry jam. If you remember my Sexy, Silky Bittersweet Chocolate Cake, you'll remember that I love chocolate and raspberry together.

By the way, I bought this jam from Guldan Family Farm in New Ulm. They do a vegetable CSA and also make really tasty jam. If you're interested in the CSA thing, I believe theirs starts in May and runs to October. They always have a great variety of produce at their farmer's market stand, and it's always really fresh and nice looking.

I slather a good amount (about half the jar) on top of the bottom layer.

Don't spread too closely to the edge of the cake, or the jam will squish out when you put on the top layer of cake.

Which, now that I mention it, it's time for. Caaaarefully set the top layer on the bottom layer. This cake is a bit delicate so you'll want to use caution.

Now it's time for the frosting. I'll admit it, I'm not a great froster or cake decorator. I don't have the patience to put the cake in the freezer to firm it up, and unless I'm taking it somewhere, I definitely don't have the patience to pipe frosting.

The first thing I do when I frost a cake is throw a big ol' dollop of frosting on top. Plop on more than you think you'll need.

Spread the frosting lightly around the cake. This is called the crumb coating. Really what it does is cement the cake down a bit, so when you get down to putting a real layer of frosting on, you won't have little bits of cake messing up your pretty frosting.

If it were a true crumb coating, I would pop the lightly frosted cake in the freezer to set up a bit before continuing to frost. But I'm too impatient for a piece of cake to do that. So I just slather on more frosting right away.

Not the prettiest frosting job but hey, it serves its purpose. Its purpose of being delicious.

Cut yourself a big ol' slice and enjoy it!

If you're pregnant, cut a second slice. Babies like cake, too.

Recipe: Third Trimester Chocolate Cake
2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa (not Dutch process)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

2 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. oil
1 c. strong coffee
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.

Make a well in the dry ingredients. Add in eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Stir slightly to combine.

Grease bottoms and corners of cake pans. Pour batter evenly into pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake is fully cooked (edges of cake will pull away from the pan, and a toothpick inserted in to the center of cake will come out clean.)

Remove cake from oven and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before removing from cake pans. Run a smooth-edged knife around the edges of the cake before turning cake out onto cooling racks.

Allow to cool fully before frosting.

*By the way, here's what we got in our October CSA package (sorry, no picture, we already ate one of the half chickens and the chicken meat!):

2 half chickens
2/3 lb. boneless chicken meat, for stir fry
1 lb. ground beef
1 beef roast
4 pork chops
a dozen eggs


  1. OMG, LOVE the name! Bobbie had me craving chocolate cake too.

  2. The only downside to this cake is that the batter is so thin that I couldn't add chocolate chips. :P